China Surges Ahead in Clean Energy Investment, Study Says

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China surged past the United States in clean energy investment and finance for the first time last year, becoming the global leader in the booming renewable energy market, according to a new report.

In 2009, China invested $34.6 billion in the development of renewable energy, nearly twice as much as the $18.6 billion spent by the United States., according to an analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Five years ago, China spent just $2.5 billion.

And while the report said the economic recession was a factor, it concluded that China’s growing dominance in green energy reflects a lack of long-term U.S. policies to provide incentives for the production of alternative energy.

“The United States’ competitive position is at risk in the emerging clean energy economy,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Environment Group’s Global Warming Campaign.

In terms of dollars invested as a share of the total economy, the United States dropped below 10 other nations. For example, in relative terms, Spain spent five times more than the United States last year.

From 2005 to 2009, China’s clean energy investment, particularly in wind and solar, increased 148 percent.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

photo: FAB O LENS

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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